I’ve been meaning to write this post for a lonnnnng time. The task has seemed a little daunting but I’m finally ready to do it. My sister-in-law is due with our little niece in a few months so I wanted to get this post done before she started registering. Nothing like an arrival of a new baby to get you to do things!
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Before my husband & I even had a baby we said no way would we register at Babies R Us. That place was like hell to us. It was huge, full of a bunch of crap, things were all over the store (we literally walked back and forth across the store like 5 times for someone’s registry), and a lot of the staff is lacking in knowledge (to be polite). I’m also not a fan of supporting big box stores either. Well, what do you know, we registered at Babies R Us! Silly us. We thought we didn’t have any other choice. We thought it would be easiest for everyone else. We didn’t want to but we did it for ease. In all fairness we also registered at a small boutique store; however, most people went to Babies R Us probably because it was easier. Sadly, we use very few of the items that we registered for there as most are pretty toxic. If I had to do it over again, we definitely would NOT register at Babies R Us or any equivalent. I wish we had stuck to our initial instinct to not register there. Wherever you register this is what we would get knowing what we know now.
Update December 2016: Flame retardants aren’t required in baby products anymore due to a law change in CA in 2013. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t there though. Some places where I said they contain flame retardants is from 2012. You will need to verify if that is true or not if you are looking at one of my non-recommended products. All my recommended products are flame retardant free.
What we registered for: I really wanted something small in scale. I ended up registering for, and receiving, the Fisher Price Space Saving High Chair. I liked that it sat on our dining room chair and that it was small. I later read that they didn’t even use BPA free plastic (I didn’t reach out to Fisher Price to find out if this was true or not). I know a lot of seat cushions in high chairs have fire retardants as well. I haven’t verified this with Fisher Price but if I was a betting gal I would bet that there are fire retardants in this high chair. When I have some more free time I will reach out to Fisher Price and find out and update this post. Lucky for me, I was able to return this high chair before we used it.
Also, a lot of people I know have the Chicco Caddy Hook on Chair, the red high chair that hooks onto a table. I reached out to them when I was looking into high chairs and the seat cushion does have fire retardants in it. For me, I wouldn’t buy it because of that. If you have the chair you can replace the cushion with a cotton or wool cushion (wool is naturally water resistant) or at least take the cushion out and wrap it in something airtight (even plastic).
What I wished we registered for: There are a handful of non-toxic high chairs out there. We ended up buying the Stokke and I really love it! I love that my son sits at the table with us, that the chair will grow with him and can be used for many years, and that it is nice looking. It comes with a higher price tag but you are buying a quality, wood, non-toxic high chair that will last years longer than any plastic high chair you buy. We didn’t buy any of the “accessories” that come with it (the seat supporter, tray or cushion). There are some reports out there that this is unstable and can tip backwards. They have since added an extension piece to the feet of this chair. Ours has never come close to tipping backwards even with our kids pushing away from the table while in it.
Another less expensive option is Keekaroo. It’s really similar to the Stokke. Here is what I see as the main differences between the Stokke and the Keekaroo: the Keekaroo costs less though the quality of wood isn’t as good (made of rubberwood vs beechwood) and it comes in less color options. While both the Keekaroo and the Stokke have trays, the Keekaroo has a wooden tray with a removable plastic cover. The Stokke only has a plastic tray. If I would have known about the wooden tray I may have gone with the Keekaroo. I really love having my son sit at the table with us but occasionally it would be nice to have a tray. From what I have heard from readers is that the Keekaroo doesn’t hold up as well. If the Stokke is in your budget, I think that is the best bet.
What we registered for: The Graco Pack N Play. It has fire retardants in it. End of story. My son never even sat in his. As soon as I found this out it was gone. Fast forward to 2016, this probably doesn’t have flame retardants any more but you should verify. Either way, there are better non-toxic alternatives to this travel crib.
What I wished we registered for: Baby Bjorn Travel Crib. This travel crib is Oeko-Tek certified to be free from harmful substances. We never purchased this since we ended up co-sleeping but if we did ever go out and buy a travel crib this would be it. If you want to be hard-core about it, or if you are going to be using it a lot, you can get an organic travel crib mattress too! You can finish it off with an organic sheet and you will be all ready to go.
Another great option, is the Guava Lotus Travel Crib. It has a side zipper that can be zipped open from the outside to lay with your baby as they go to sleep. It is GreenGuard Gold certified, has no flame retardants, lead, PVC or phthalates per my conversations with them. The mattress is low VOC polyurethane foam. They do third party test to make sure they are free from these things.
Either travel crib would be good in my opinion. Both mattresses are made with polyurethane foam. I’ve come to learn that a lot of foam has flame retardants in it. If you are going to buy a travel crib and use it often get an organic travel crib mattress. Even if a company says that the foam doesn’t have flame retardants some testing is showing that they do (whether it’s done without the companies knowing or before they get the foam that I don’t know). I’m become very leery of foam and generally don’t use products with foam in it if at all possible. That being said, if you have a need for the occasional use of a travel crib either of these how they are sold would be great.
Baby Bouncy Seat:
What we registered for: We registered for a bouncy seat, one like this, but it wasn’t this one. I can’t remember which one it was and it doesn’t really matter which brand as all the bucket seat / bouncy seats are the same in my opinion. It turns out a friend had one that I could borrow so we returned the one we got. My son pretty much hated his bouncy seat from day one. He just wanted to be held which is understandable! It also is pretty confining and doesn’t allow your baby to move his arms or legs very much. I only ended up using it in the bathroom. After a few months I looked at the tags and sure enough the CA TB 114 tag was on there. Yay, more fire retardants! So we stopped using that. Two negatives.
What I wished we registered for: Hands down, the BabyBjorn Babysitter Balance is the only chair to buy! It is Oeko-Tek certified (free from harmful chemicals). The one I linked above is organic. There is a non-organic option too but I would without a doubt buy the organic one. Besides being non-toxic it also allows your baby to move their arms and legs. My son was MUCH happier in the seat. He still didn’t like to be in it for too long but I could take a shower with him in this seat where I could not with the other. I ended up buying this seat used off of a mom’s group that I am part of for $15 – sweet deal!
We didn’t register for one but ended up buying one used off of the mom’s group after feeling like I needed to have one. I was asked multiple times about a swing so I broke down and bought a used one last-minute. You don’t need a swing. You can use the chair above or a rug to set your baby down. Also, I’m a big fan of baby wearing and holding your baby. Your baby would rather be with you than in a swing. We sold our swing after several months. He did nap in it and I’m sure there were fire retardants in it. I don’t know of a swing that doesn’t have fire retardants but if full disclosure I didn’t do much research on swings since it wasn’t very important to me.
See my blog post on car seats for more info and links.
What we registered for:
Well, we bought one stroller and registered for another stroller. I did ZERO research on strollers before buying / registering. I took the word of other moms. All I heard was the BOB was the stroller to get, especially if you are a runner, so I went out and bought a BOB. Well, we had a decent dividend at REI so we didn’t have to spend much on it. Turns out it is coated in polyurethane to make it waterproof. The older rain cover is made up of PVC as well. The new models of BOB don’t use PVC but some other chemicals to make it waterproof. Some PVC can contain lead and it is also known to create dioxins which is a carcinogen. Don’t use a cover on your stroller which can trap all those toxic chemicals in for the baby to breathe. If you want to know more about PVC in children’s items see the WA Toxics Colliation site. Polyurethane, which is used in a lot of children’s items, can cause liver, thyroid, and neurological toxicity. Ugh, gross.
We registered for a Baby Trends Snap N Go. It’s treated with fire retardants. I don’t even understand why a stroller would be treated with fire retardants. Stupid laws. Anyways, this thing is just so you can take your baby from your car seat and set them in a stroller without getting them out of the car seat. I did use this a handful of times and it was handy when my baby was sleeping. If I had to do it over would I use it? Nope. I would put my baby in a carrier and hold him. Physical touch is very important to these little people and we have come up with so many contraptions to not hold our babies.
What I wished we registered for:
For a jogging stroller, the Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle is the safest option. It’s made of Nylon (no foam) in their older models! New models to contain foam but no flame retardants. I am removed the Uppababy and Orbit stroller systems from my recommended list. I’ve seen testing results showing that they have toxic flame retardants even though both of these companies have said that they don’t use toxic flame retardants. The only thing I can say is that if you have to use a stroller get one without foam. OR, gasp!, NONE. Invest in a couple of carriers and call it good. Get a stroller, if you need one, when you can no longer carry your baby. I haven’t used a stroller since our son was probably 4 months old. He is almost 13 months and I still use my carrier everyday. Our BOB is sitting very nicely in our garage. Update, now that my son is 2 1/2 we use our Mountain Buggy that I got off of craigslist if we are going on a long walk.
Bumbleride is a great non-toxic, but expensive, option for a stroller. They are Okeo-Tek certified. They don’t use flame retardants. For the cushion they don’t use polyurethane foam but instead recycled plastic bottles. I definitely don’t like that option either but it’s still probably one of the safest options out there.
For those of you wondering if I’m still carrying my child around, the answer is I bought the Maclaren below (as we still use our Mountain Buggy). I actually bought this for my second child when I needed to contain him somewhere if I had an appointment for my first child.
For a double, I don’t have a perfect answer except possibly the Bumbleride. I did buy a newer used BOB and covered the seat with blankets to get us by until the Bumberide I wanted came out. I bought the BOB because I needed a jogging stroller. We use it so rarely that I probably won’t buy a double. .
For Umbrella strollers, I found the Maclaren Volo stroller to be a great option. There is NO foam. It is nylon fabric and no waterproofing. There are no flame retardants, PVC, phthalates, or lead. I really like this stroller except the straps are a pain. Not enough that it is a deal breaker for me. They just clasp together weird and I’ve honestly never really figured it out. We can be found walking around with jumbled straps 🙂
What we registered for: We registered for two, the organic Moby and the Beco Gemini. Ugh, this still makes me sad. The freaking Beco Gemini is treated with flame retardants. I can not even understand why that would be. I mean, seriously. They said it is a CA state law. That’s not totally true. Yes, if you use certain materials then they have to contain fire retardants but there are a whole host of other materials they could have used. Many, many different brands of carriers are made WITHOUT flame retardants. Shame on Beco. They sent me an email trying to tell me that toothpaste was more harmful than the chemicals that they use because in large doses fluoride is toxic. I wanted to write back that I am totally aware about fluoride and that has nothing to do with the baby carrier. I didn’t but I did tell them that I didn’t want my child to be wrapped in flame retardants and I wanted to return it. Lucky for me, the store I bought it from was awesome about returning it and getting me something that was free from chemicals. UPDATE on BECO: Beco stopped using flame retardants in their carrier on the newest carriers (mid 2013). This is great news! The Beco is now made in China instead of the USA though which I think is a bummer. The organic Moby is a perfectly fine carrier. People love the Moby. I liked it when my son was younger. I did find wrapping the fabric all around to be kinda annoying. Maybe I’m just lazy, who knows. Once he started getting heavier it stretched out too much and just wasn’t comfortable. It worked for a while but I would have loved for it to work longer. It’s totally non-toxic though. After my second, the Moby was invaluable to me for the first 4 months. At that point I switched over to my Ergo.
What I wished we registered for: This was really hard for me. I spent months researching and trying to find the perfect carrier. For me, it doesn’t exist. I liked the idea of a more structured carrier that didn’t have padding in the straps or if it did have padding that it wasn’t polyurethane foam. I had to settle but I made some modifications. I traded in my Beco for an organic Ergo. The organic Ergo WAS GOTS certified (free from harmful chemicals) and that was the final selling point for me. It looks like it is no longer GOTS. I then bought some organic teething straps that I put on the carrier so my son wasn’t sucking on the foam pads. Now that he is older and his face isn’t near the straps we no longer use them. I also bought an organic Mei Tai which I kinda like but my laziness sets in with the wrapping that is involved (the one I bought is no longer being made). I also bought an organic sling from the same company that made the Mei Tai. So I have 3 carriers. I like the sling for its small size and for how easy it is to pack around (compared to the Ergo). My plan was to use the Mei Tai and sling at home and the Ergo for longer walks out and about. Many months later I primarily use the Ergo and occasionally use the sling. I haven’t used the Mei Tai in months. If I had to do it over, I would buy the Ergo and the Moby (possibly the sling but it doesn’t get much use).
Also, on a side note the Baby Bjorn carrier is really popular but it’s not recommended because of the way the baby hangs from the crotch. It has very little support and should be avoided. Look up how to wear a baby properly, the basics of it is that the baby’s knees should be higher than their bum.
See my blog post on teethers for more info and links.
What we registered for: The Natursutten teethers.
What I wish we registered for: Dress Me Up Organics Teething Bunny, Maple Landmark’s natural teether, and an Amber Teething Necklace.
What we registered for: None
What I wish we registered for: A few toys would have been fun since we get a lot of use out of the toys now. See my post on toys for more info and links.
What we registered for: A few items but not much.
What I wish we registered for: Anything from Under the Nile or any clothing company on my non-toxic list which you can find here. I look for GOTS certified clothing because then you know it’s free from fire retardants (which is required in PJ’s from 9 months to 14 years unless there is a tag that says that it doesn’t contain fire retardants and must be worn tight), AZO dyes (which contain heavy metals), formaldehyde, or any other harmful substance. Just because clothing is organic doesn’t mean it’s non-toxic! They can use toxic dyes in organic clothing. Also watch out for “made with organic cotton”, that basically means some small piece, or percentage, of the clothing can be organic (like 5% organic). Babies skin is 1/5th the thickness of ours so protecting them from chemicals in their clothes is important! To read more about clothing fibers and dyes, see my post on if organic clothing is worth it.
Make sure you get some onesies, a couple of hats in addition to pj’s and clothing. Kimono style onesies are great for the first few months when pulling a shirt over a babies head is hard. See my full clothing list for more non-toxic options!
What we registered for: Safety 1st bathtub. We also registered for a bamboo towel and wash cloths. I’ve since learned that bamboo isn’t really all that “green”. It’s touted as being an eco-product, from a growing and harvesting standpoint, but the process to get the bamboo into fabric form is / can be quite toxic. I’ve decided to stick with organic cotton and no longer use bamboo.
What I wish we registered for: Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Soap, Earth Mama Angel Baby Soap, Under the Nile hooded towel & wash cloth, and no bath tub since I take a bath with my babe.
See my blog post on diapers for more info and links.
What we registered for: None, how silly!
What I wish we registered for: Wool covers (LOVE wool, it’s the best cover we have used and it’s a natural fiber!), cloth diapers, and wipes.
What we registered for: Dr. Browns glass bottles, both the 4 oz and 8 oz. I didn’t know this at the time but breastfed babies never eat more than 4 to 5 oz at a time no matter what age they are. The 4 oz bottles easily hold 5 oz. It was a total waste for us to get the 8 oz. The only reason for the 8 oz is for formula. These bottles worked for us when I was away from my son. There are quite a few pieces to these bottles to clean which can be a bit of a pain. Dr. Brown’s bottles are supposed to help with colic and burping, I can’t tell you if it really did or not. I was also pumping and freezing milk in these bottles. After a couple of times, I realized that this is not advised! Right on the package it says this. They do not use tempered glass and there is a risk of the glass cracking if frozen. Some cracks can be so small you might not even notice. It is definitely not worth the risk of using these bottles to freeze milk in. You can freeze milk in the bottles listed below. This important to me because I was never froze milk in the plastic bags. Something just didn’t seem right about it to me.
What I wished we registered for: First, only a few 4 oz bottles. I don’t have any issue with Dr. Browns glass bottles but I think the Lifefactory bottles are better and more versatile. They can be frozen because they use tempered glass. The nipple can also be replaced with a sippy cup lid and you can continue to get use out of it when your little one is older. Then when they are even bigger you can just put a regular lid on it and they can use it as their water bottle. I love being able to use an item for a long time. Plus the silicone sleeves come in fun colors!
What we registered for: We didn’t register for a mattress. I felt like that is something that we should buy but it doesn’t mean you can’t register for it.
What I wished we registered for: You most definitely want a certified organic crib mattress (and you want a certified organic mattress for yourself too!). The reason is that mattresses are full of chemicals including flame retardants. This is so important since your children spend so much time sleeping. Invest in good non-toxic, mattresses for your entire family! Buy one with a certification, it’s important as otherwise you just have to believe what you are told. See my blog post on crib mattresses for more info.
What we registered for: The Bobby with an organic cover. This does have the CA TB 114 tag on it but it does NOT contain fire retardants. It just means that they are in compliance with the technical bulletin and did so without the use of chemicals. The organic Boppy is still filled with polyester. A lot mainstream nursing pillows contain fire retardants so be careful when you purchase. I only reached out to the pillows I had and confirmed that My Breastfriend and Luna Lulliby do use fire retardants (in 2012 / 2013).
What I wished we registered for: The Bobby is fine I really liked it best when my son was learning to sit to protect him when he would fall backwards. I never used it that much while nursing. After the first month of so I just held him without a pillow. In my opinion, the best nursing pillow on the market is the Holy Lamb Organics nursing pillow. I like that is it made with wool and organic cotton. I think simple is best. I prefer the Holy Lamb Organics nursing pillow because it is all organic, not just the cover like the Boppy. I also think you could get away without having a nursing pillow. It was the first few months when I actually used it the most for nursing for both of my kids.
Personal Care Supplies:
What we reigstered for: The Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer and we love being able to just run this across our son’s head to take his temperature. I don’t always get the same reading with these types of thermometers though so I take it several times or until I get a couple similar readings.
What I wished we registered for: I love the thermometer above. I also really like the Green Sprouts brush and comb. You will also need a pair of nail clippers. We have the Green Sprouts Clippers which are PVC and phthalate free. I also really like they have a nail catcher attached so you don’t have to go looking for tiny nail clippings!
What we registered for: We didn’t but borrowed the Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper. I really loved having this until I found out there are fire retardants in it. Good news is that the newer models (2012 and newer) are made without fire retardants. The company has said if the CA TB 114 tag is not on the co-sleeper then it doesn’t have fire retardants.
What I wished we registered for: I now wish I had a moses basket with an organic bassinet mattress. My second choice would be the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper probably in the full size. We had the mini and our son was large so he started to outgrow it before I was ready for him too. You can find organic mattresses that will fit these as well. If your room is big enough you could also just set up the crib in your room and save yourself some money! This is exactly what we did when my second was born. He had plans of his own and refused to sleep in his crib.
Baby Play Gyms:
What we registered for: We didn’t actually register for a baby play gym (the thing that babies lay under that hangs toys above their head). We were going to borrow one from a friend but we ended up receiving one as a gift. At the time I felt like I knew they were toxic but didn’t know the details. Most all of these gyms have fire retardants and formaldehyde in them. Then we lay our babies on them for them to play – so gross. I always put a blanket down on mine but I’m not sure if that really helped any. Some people are against these as they feel that it is forcing the baby to do something they may want to do. You don’t really need one of these but for whatever it’s worth my son did have fun batting the toys around.
What I wish we registered for: Plan Toys makes a wooden baby play gym that I really wish we had. Just lay a blanket down and you can put this play gym over the top of it. It’s non-toxic so you don’t have to worry about your baby laying on a toxic filled mat. They can also play with this once they are sitting too. Plan Toys makes two wooden baby play gyms. One is triangular, don’t buy that one. We did and my youngest outgrew it by 4 months. I’m glad to see that have re-designed their play gym!
Diaper Changing Pad:
What we registered for: We registered for the Naturopedic Organic Changing Pad and the Organic Changing Pad Cover. These are both non-toxic and a great choice. A lot of changing pads contain fire retardants (even brands labeled organic). In my opinion, it’s worth the extra money for this one. You will be using your changing pad a lot!
What I wish we registered for: Naturopedic is a great option. Another option is Holy Lamb Organics Changing Table Pad. It’s made of organic cotton and wool. Either changing pad is great. I would also recommend getting a wool changing pad to take with you on the go. A lot of the portable changing pads are pretty gross in my opinion. I have this changing pad from Organic Caboose in my diaper bag and really like it.
What we registered for: I’m not sure what exactly we registered for, if any. We did receive a lot of burp clothes. At the time I thought I had too many but soon realize you can never have too many burp clothes! I still go through so many every day cleaning up food, spills, etc.
What I wish we registered for: Some of my favorites are these preemie diapers from Bummis that we use as burp clothes. Under the Nile has several GOTS certified organic burp cloths that we use all the time. We use them for everything from spit up to spills to bath time.
What we registered for: the Aiden & Anas blankets. We got a few organic and several non-organic. The organic ones are not certified and are made in China. Having organic cotton doesn’t do anything if the dyes and finishes are potentially toxic. I never reached out to them by my rule of thumb is sticking to certified on the final product.
What I wish we registered for: Under the Nile has GOTS certified swaddle blankets. We didn’t end up swaddling our kids but they still came in handy for other things.
What we registered for: Well, we just went out and bought Pottery Barn Organic Crib Sheets. This was one of the turning points for me and one of the reasons I wanted to blog. This and the Beco Baby Carrier. It’s also when I realized that organic doesn’t mean non-toxic. The Pottery Barn Organic Crib Sheets are treated with something, which they won’t say what it is, that makes them wrinkle free. I found this out after using them for months! I heard from a woman in the green textile industry that she heard it might be formaldehyde along with possibly something else (she didn’t know what that something else was but had been trying to figure out for years). Update: I’m leaving this information here because it is important to know about. Pottery Barn does now sell certified organic crib sheets. Oreo-Tek can still use small amount of formaldehyde. GOTS can not. There are some safe options at Pottery Barn now.
What I wished we registered for: Organic, GOTS certified sheets. Your baby will spend a lot of time sleeping in their crib (or your bed if you co-sleep). Their bed should be the one place that is toxin free. Magnolia Organics and Coyuchi both have GOTS certified crib sheets. If you feel like being crafty you can buy GOTS certified fabric and make your own sheets. I love the designs of Birch Fabrics.
Cribs: We didn’t register for a crib but a quick note of what I think is important to look for. All cribs meet the same safety standards. The difference between a $200 crib and a $1,000 crib is the materials, style and brand. For us we had 3 things we wanted. The most important to us was that it was made of real wood. We didn’t want MDF since it contains formaldehyde. We also wanted a non-toxic finish, and we really wanted it to be made in the USA. We ended up buying our crib at Land of Nod which we rarely use because we co-sleep (however it is a nice wool diaper drying rack ;)). Now I would have found a crib that was finished with beeswax and an organic oil (the ultimate non-toxic finish) instead of whatever we have. Going unfinished is a great route too. You can leave it unfinished or finish it yourself with an organic oil. Green Cradle makes solid wood cribs, here in the USA. They use a formaldehyde free glue and you have the option of unfinished. We own a dresser from them and it is very well made! Another option is the IKEA Singular crib. I’m not a huge fan of IKEA but it’s unfinished and inexpensive.
Rocker / Glider:
What we registered for: We purchased a Dutailier rocker / glider. I was told it was one of the nicest on the market. It was really, really comfortable. I spent a lot of time in that rocker when my son was born. Then I found out that it has flame retardants in it. I had even asked before I purchased it if it was non-toxic and the person at the store said “oh, yes, they know who their market it and they make everything safe for baby”. When my son was about 4 or 5 months old I gave them a call and found out that they do in fact use flame retardants. So, we sold it. This was another reason I started the blog. I was really sad to learn that this was toxic after I asked about it. I realized that I didn’t ask enough questions or at that time even know the questions to ask. This could be an entire post on its own – why are even being put in this position to have to even think about this stuff. Baby products should just really be non-toxic!
What I wished we registered for: I wouldn’t have registered for one but I would have bought a wood rocker. I ended up borrowing one from my dad (which was my grandma’s rocking chair). I love that I am using her rocker. As a side note, a lot of antiques contain lead. Even the non-painted ones. I had my rocker tested and it is lead free. For that reason you are better off buying a new rocker rather than an antique. If you feel like a wooden rocking chair won’t be comfy enough you could make some cushions. You will just need to make sure the foam you buy doesn’t have flame retardants in it (a lot of foam is spayed before stores even get it). The best bet is to get a cushion made from organic latex and organic cotton. A place like Soaring Heart or Ecobalanza may be able to make a custom cushion for you. Both Soaring Heart and Ecobalanza offer my blog readers 5% off by mentioning Natural Baby Mama.
Where should you register?
That’s a good question! I’m a big fan of supporting a small, local store. In addition, Amazon would be my choice. My sister-in-law found this amazing site – BabyList Baby Registry. You can register here, if you don’t want to register at amazon, and pull items from big stores, amazon, etsy, etc. So cool!
I hope this post was helpful. If there are any other products you would like to know about please let me know. I talk a lot about fire retardants and if you need a reminder as to why you should stay away from them see my post about fire retardants for more details. The basics are that it can cause cancer, learning disabilities, thyroid problems, entering puberty earlier, and the list goes on. I also mention formaldehyde and the side effects can cause irritation of the eyes and nose, asthma, ADD/ADHD, increased risk of cancer and many more. The best thing is try to avoid these two chemicals as much as possible.
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Thanks for the great information. Are you aware of any non-toxic options for breast pumps? What about pumping into glass bottles?
Thanks! I have the Medela breast pump and it is BPA free. However, another great option to look at is Hygeia. This is from Hygeia’s web site “All pump parts that come in touch with breast milk are BPA- and DEHP- free – offering peace of mind for breastfeeding moms worried about chemicals.” I would probably get a Hygeia if I had to do it over again. At the time I bought the Medela I hadn’t heard of Hygeia.
Yes, I pumped into glass bottles! I sometimes did pump into the plastic bottles the pump came with then transferred it to glass. I used the Dr. Brown’s bottles and they mostly fit with the Medela. It wasn’t a tight fit so it did leak at times. I would have to sit up really straight to make sure it didn’t leak. 🙂 It wasn’t perfect but it did work. I never tried it with the Lifefactory bottles (and since I’m home now I rarely pump). Each pump brand is going to be different. Maybe you could find a store that would let you open the package and try and different glass bottles to see what ones fit.
Great post. Do you know who makes car seat/stroller inserts that are not treated with a flame retardant? Thanks!
Thanks! Yes, car seat cover info can be found in my post about car seats. Look at Sassy Stork on Etsy. Not everything is organic but what I would ask for is organic (GOTS certified) fabric with organic batting. The reason I would ask about the certification is that some fabrics have formaldehyde and other nasty chemicals. I would just want to make sure that they are clean from chemicals if I was going through the effort to buy a cover. Also, these are just covers that go over your existing fabric.
Another option is Nollie Covers. These can replace your existing car seat cover instead of just going over. I’ve linked both of their sites in my post on car seats.
For a stroller insert, I bought mine off of Etsy as well. Look at Bubba and Blue. Again, I asked about GOTS certified and she directed me to a website where I could choose my own fabric. She also used organic batting on mine. I have the BOB Stroller and it doesn’t have fire retardants but I didn’t like what the fabric was treated with. I felt like with this insert at least my son’s legs weren’t sitting directly on the stroller. If your stroller has fire retardants this will help some but fire retardants can also expel into the air.
Thank you so much! Do you think it’s dangerous to use a pack-n-play that’s not treated with a flame retardant in the event there is a fire in the sense that you have more time to get to the baby before it’s engulfed in flames?
The Baby Bjorn travel crib is still compliant with fire safety laws but just does so without the use of chemical fire retardants. There are materials that can be used that are naturally fire retardant like cotton, wool, and one type of foam. They make sure that the foam isn’t sprayed with chemicals before reaching them as well. This is how the Bobby pillow is able to not have chemical fire retardants in their pillow. These products are safer in my opinion than the products that use chemicals. We know the damage that is being done using toxic fire retardants chemicals and, in my opinion, that makes them not safe. Hope that helped!
Yes, I admit I have been stalking your website and commenting multiple times tonight! 😉
You mentioned you bought the Baby Bjorn bouncy seat from a mom’s group that you belong to. Is that a local group where you live? I would love to buy almost everything that you recommend to the “T”, but alas money is the issue…. How do you do all of this without breaking the bank? Any tips other than the usual Craigslist search? I currently live in Norfolk, VA which you can imagine isn’t the most eco-friendly, forward-moving place.
Hi there! I’m glad you are stalking my site and that you are finding it useful 🙂 Yes, the mom’s group I am part of is local to my neighborhood. It’s great. It’s just a yahoo group that was started years ago (by a mom)and there is a virtual garage sale each Sunday. A lot of the stuff isn’t non-toxic but I keep my eye out and grab things that I have been looking for. Besides, craigslist there is always eBay too. It is hard that non-toxic products cost more. I justify it because we don’t go out to eat a lot and I don’t really buy much that isn’t necessary. So, right now, our money goes to this. I also feel like it’s an investment. If we have more kids then we will get a lot of use out of it. If we don’t, then we can sell it and make some money back. Also, this group just started up on facebook – https://www.facebook.com/getsafeproducts. It’s brand new but the idea is to have a place to buy and sell non-toxic baby products. Hope that helps!
Thanks so much For the info. I will check out that Facebook group!
I have a question about off gassing. My oldest is four and I’m just learning about all these chemicals. Ugh, wish I had known sooner. Anyways, we are having baby #3 at Christmas time, so I’m wondering about all the old products we have. Like, do we need to buy a new crib or has it off gassed enough? And for the car seat, if we just buy a new Nollie Cover, would that work? Or should I buy all new items? I will be buying new crib sheets, and smaller items like that, but really didn’t want to have to start all over again if I don’t have to. BTW, your blog rocks! I’ve been posting your link all over my FB page. Love, love, love!
I’m glad that you love my blog and thanks for sharing it! I think that your crib is fine. If it was finished with anything toxic it probably has off gassed by now. I would make sure it’s real wood and not MDF / pressed wood though. If it’s MDF you most likely have formaldehyde in the glue. It could have off gassed by now too but I really, really don’t like MDF. So if it was me I would just make sure it’s made of real wood. I think the bigger thing would be the crib mattress. I would make sure you get a good crib mattress because so much of the off gassing comes from all the toxic chemicals in them. Over time the mattress breaks down and more of the chemicals are released into the air.
I’ve been thinking about your car seat question. I actually started writing you back the other day then decided I needed to think some more :). I’m not entirely sure if the Nollie Covers replace the foam in the car seat or not. If they replace the foam then I would say that just getting the new cover is great. Either way, a cover is going to help significantly. If the foam stays in the car seat then it will break down and release into the air but just try and minimize the amount of time that your baby spends in the car. I still look back and cringe at the times when my son would fall asleep in the car and I would bring him in the house in his car seat and he would sleep for another 3 hours. Yuck. I think if you use the car seat just for car rides and have a new cover you will be fine.
I know it’s hard to look at everything and then trying to figure out what to keep and what to change. Good luck!
Love your site!! Just wish there were more, reasonably priced options without all the nasty chemicals in them! Thanks for all of the helpful information! Wish I had known a lot more with our son. 🙁 Guess all we can do is the best that we can, knowing what we do, and keep researching!
Thank you! Yes, you can only do better when you know better. I feel the same way though. I wish I had known more earlier…. but you can’t beat yourself up for not knowing.
Yes, the issue is that a lot of these things are expensive. I look on craigslist or eBay a lot. There is a buy / sell exchange on FB that things occasionally become available on https://www.facebook.com/getsafeproducts. It’s hard. If you can’t do it all just focus on the items that they spend the most time in.
Tiila Abbitt says
What about FB bouncy seats and swings? Do these have FR’s and toxic chemicals?
YES!! They do. Baby Bjorn Organic Babysitter seat is what I would recommend and it doesn’t contain FR. It’s expensive but you can try and find it used. It’s awesome and my son would actually sit in it while I showered and he wouldn’t with the other one (which I later found out was toxic!)
Check this website out: http://www.award-winning-healthy-child-products.com/2010/01/07/safbabys-first-ethical-environmentally-conscious-retailer-green-award-goes-to-kidbean-com/
They go above and beyond listing every detail we are all concerned about 🙂
AND it doesn’t exist anymore :(. Wonder what happened?
I’m going crazy trying to find a safe glider and ottoman. Unfortunately, a rocker would cause a lot of trouble with our new wood floors, and although I enjoy relaxing in them, I can’t see myself being very comfortable nursing in one. I know that’s an option I have, if nothing else pans out, but if I can find a glider/ottoman that’s safe, I’d really love that.
I found your post about Dutailer after doing some research last night and was dismayed to hear about the FRs. I had already contacted them, though, and received a great reply today. Looks like the wood itself is okay. However, they say this about the foam (did NOT say anything about FRs in the fabric, so I contacted them again): “OUR FOAM PRODUCTS are treated CAL117 without chlorinated tris (TDCPP).” I wrote them again to find out what FRs they are using. Did you find that out when you talked with them? I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with any kind of FR, but am interested in finding out what kind it might be.
In my research, I also came across a woman who makes coverings to replace the ones on the Dutailer glider. Do you know if the fabric and padding are removable from the glider and ottoman? I figured that might be another option, similar to what some are doing with carseats: removing the padding/cover and replacing it with fabric that’s safer.
Thanks again for all you do. Your posts are a voice of sanity and wisdom in the wilderness of trying to find safe products for our child and home.
Thanks for your nice words! I appreciate it 🙂
I’m fairly certain it was just the foam that was treated but I can’t remember exactly. That’s annoying that they just told you it wasn’t treated with chlorinated tris – that tells me that it is treated with something. They are just trying to throw people off by stating that they don’t treat with a certain chemical when there are so many FRs out there. Argh, that annoys me! 🙂 Anyways, the cushions are removable. So I would say that would be your best bet – remove the cushions and have someone make you new cushions with organic cotton, wool or latex and cover it with an organic cotton.
Also the reason you are driving yourself crazy trying to find a non toxic glider is because there really isn’t one! Which is so crazy but it’s true. If there happens to be one out there somewhere it would be super expensive because of the cost of the natural materials they would have to use. At the time I didn’t even think of removing the cushion and replacing it which is a good idea. Even better would just to buy a used Dutailier since you are going to replace the cushions anyways 🙂
Hi – I stumbled on your site while looking for non-toxic high chairs… Thanks so much for sharing what you’ve learned. I didn’t realize how unbelievably horrifying all my daughter’s stuff was until she was about 4 months old (she’s 8 mo now) – I’m still really upset with myself that I didn’t know about these things earlier but, working on moving forward ; ) Anyway, you mentioned the Pottery Barn sheets (which of course we’re using, ugh). How did you find out they are treated with something? Their site says the organic fitted sheets (but not any of the other organic bedding components) are Oeko Tex certified. Can they obtain that certification if they use formaldehydes (or other toxic chemicals)? Thanks
Thanks so much for sharing all this amazing information. I have 8 month old girls and before I found your website and a few others like it I was just going on individual manufacturer’s websites looking for the best non-toxic products. You have saved me so much time.
As far as Beco, I was so disappointed to learn of their fire retardants and wrote them an email as well–I got the same we’re safer than your toothpaste response. My question for you: I already have the Made in USA organic Beco (which has flame retardants). What do you think is safer: That, or the now Made in China organic Beco that doesn’t have flame retardants? They’ve offered to replace my older model, but each has its downside! Thank you and happy holidays!
Johnon's mom says
Hi Naturalbabymama, your blog is a wonderful help for me trying to register for my first baby. We are going to get non toxic baby stuff as much as we can, but I wonder what we need to do with all existing furniture in the home — mostly ikea’s. I’m especially concerned about our own mattress (half polyester, half cotton) and our bed, since the baby will sleep in the same room in close distance to them.
Thanks! It’s hard once you start realizing that pretty much everything in your house is toxic. We ended up replacing our mattress and couch for that reason. I also wanted a bigger bed so it worked out timing wise for us. I think the biggest issue would be sleeping on the bed rather than next to the bed. Your bed has FR in it and that does get in the air. Maybe get a good air purifier if replacing your mattress isn’t an option. I mean with you sleeping on it the FR does get in breastmilk. Not saying your shouldn’t nurse because I think it is the better option but just putting it in perspective. For that reason we replaced the things that I spend a lot of time using (bed and couch). I believe in 2015 furniture manufacturers will no longer be required to add FRs. They still can if they want too but they don’t have it. It will be great to buy affordable furniture that doesn’t have FR in the near future!
As far as IKEA goes, if it’s real wood then it’s fine. A lot of their stuff is MDF which contains formaldehyde. If you have had it for awhile most of that could have off gassed. If it’s newer than it is still probably off gassing. I’m not a fan of MDF and only buy real wood.
I’d be interested to know what you use or what you’ve found for toy boxes/toy storage?
That is a really hard one! I’ve struggled to find something I like. I would have thought there would be organic cotton toy bins but I haven’t been able to find anything. I have a wood toy chest that my dad made and that is finished with beeswax and organic jojoba oil. I bought a couple of these boxes from Camden Rose http://www.palumba.com/storage-crate.html. They are too expensive to buy a bunch though. Otherwise I just have toys on a small bookshelf that is just for toys (http://www.palumba.com/simple-book-case.html), in the toy chest, or in his kitchen. I’ve looked all over and can’t find anything. Have you found anything?
What brands of furniture (couches and chairs) and mattresses don’t contain FR and toxins?
So sorry for the long delay. I love my mattress from Soaring Heart but they are local Seattle company (they do ship though). Naturpedic, Soaring Heart, Lifekind, and Holy Lamb Organics is where is where I would buy a mattress from.
For furniture, look for wood chairs, simple items without cushions. For a couch, the truly non-toxic ones are spendy! Elka Home or EcoBalanza,
Not yet, but some possibilities http://www.etsy.com/listing/96504878/large-organic-cotton-canvas-storage and http://ladybugbabyorganics.com/shop/index.php/organic-canvas-storage-bins.html and http://www.landofnod.com/organic-landscape-floor-bins/f12125
I love the 2nd one from Lady Bug Baby Organics. I hadn’t seen that one before. I’m going to email them but I will most likely order from them. Thanks so much for sharing!
I’ve looked at the one from Etsy a lot of different times over the past year. I just don’t love that it is not organic cotton on the inside and I also didn’t love the shape. I was actually looking at this for a laundry bin for my son’s room. Hands down I like the one I mentioned above better.
I would be interested if the Land of Nod one is GOTS certified and where it is made. Maybe I’ll check it out 🙂
Thanks for sharing these!
You picked the Babybjorn travel crib. What is your opinion on the Lotus? And does anyone know where one can find an organic mattress for either of these (24×42 size)? Thanks! Great post!
So sorry for the delay in getting back to you. If you haven’t found one yet Naturpedic sells organic mattresses that would fit that size I believe. I honestly don’t know much about the Lotus travel crib but it states that it is free of “PBE/PBDE Flame Retardants” which leads me to believe that they just use other flame retardants. I would call them and ask them what FR they use on their product. If they won’t tell you just ask them if they do use them or not. Let me know what you find out!
If anyone is still looking…. the Naturepedic Organic Cotton Portacrib Mattress found on amazon fits the baby bjorn travel crib. I have the mattress and and actually purchased another one for our daughter to use at daycare (I didn’t want her on their mattress). We ended up getting a nanny so now we have 2! Here is a link to purchase on amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Naturepedic-Organic-Cotton-Portacrib-Mattress/dp/B0016RSEG8/ref=pd_tcs_compl_ba_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=147DNJRS8VGJXX3SMD0P
Madison Sargent says
Thank you so much for doing the legwork for us! I came across your website when I was registering and you saved me so much time! I share your website with all my pregnant friends. I appreciate it!
Thank you for this website and, especially, this post! I am just starting to register for items and finding items that are natural & non-toxic can be very daunting. This site was just what I needed to help me along. Overall, I have many questions for you, but first I’ll ask about play gyms. I found this article on wooden play gyms: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/20-wooden-baby-play-gyms-for-every-budget-186449. Then, I started wondering about the paint used on the dangling toys, the finish on the wood, the chemicals in the mats, etc… I am specifically interested in the Iglu Play Gym by Il Leccio (http://www.illeccio.com/page.php?lang=en&product_id=50). Do you know much about them and their products? The website says that the colors are non-toxic and all items comply with EN 71-1, 2, 3. If I contact them to get more information, what are the “tough” questions I need to be asking? Thanks!
I don’t know anything about their products but I would wonder the same things you do. I would ask if they use any amount of lead in their paint (if they say they are in compliance that isn’t answering the question because small amounts of lead are allowed), any flame retardants in the mat, what is the mat made of (both the inside and outside material), any PVC, I would ask about the finish on the wood (I prefer beeswax and an organic oil personally but at a minimum it should be water based). I would also find out where it is made. I wish I had known about all the toxins when my son was that age. The mat he laid on still makes me cringe. It’s going to be harder to find a perfect wood play gym with the mat attached in my opinion. I would opt for a wood gym with toys that you can attach and rotate that doesn’t have a mat. You can just use a quilt or blanket that you have in place of the mat. Good luck!
Did you ever hear back from Lady Bug Organics or Land of Nod re the canvas storage bins?
I didn’t contact Land of Nod but did get in touch with Lady Bug Organics. I love everything about their product so I’m not searching any further :). The organic cotton comes from the USA and she makes them herself. I haven’t ordered any but I will be. Also, if you want a size other than what she has she will do a custom order for you.
Thanks, yes I finally heard back from them too. Love it. I’ve been looking forward to a post about shoes… I like Soft Star but am not crazy about using leather (seems unnecessary to kill cows for baby shoes). And their vegan option, which appears to be some kind of synthetic suede isn’t as natural as I’d like. Doesn’t anyone make a simple natural rubber soled shoe with a canvas top? Driving me nuts!
Sorry! I haven’t been spending as much time blogging as I was because it was taking time away from my husband. I still need to do a shoe post. I’m vegetarian and am very sensitive to killing animals for food or clothing. I had to make a decision when it became sandal weather here to go with non-toxic veggie dyed leather from Soft Star or go with synthetic toxic shoes. I chose Soft Star and it took me weeks and weeks to be comfortable enough about it to make the purchase. They use leather that is the by product of the food industry which doesn’t make it any better (and I don’t like supporting that industry at all) but I decided non-toxic for my son was most important.
Before Soft Star shoes this was the only shoe I had for my son. He wore these up until he was 18 months +. She has organic, GOTS certified (and non-organic) cotton shoes with rubber soles. I LOVE them. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittlePitterpat?ref=shop_sugg
Another shoe company I really like is Natural World. They are made in Spain of organic cotton (GOTS certified) with natural rubber soles (not synthetic which is so hard to find). I bought these when my son was first walking and they were too narrow and hard to get on. I went back to a local store that sells them and tried again almost a year later and they fit much better for some reason. They are super cute and I love what the company does. They also make adult shoes! http://www.naturalworldeco.com/index.php/news/12/ecosectores/en#/home/en
Oh my gosh, thank you! A big thank you to you and your family for all you guys have sacrificed to make this blog happen. Sharing what you’ve learned has been so incredibly helpful and has changed the way we are raising our daughter. All your effort and time is very much appreciated!
thanks so much for all of the great info! do you know I the uppa baby vista stroller has lame retardants in the seat? I have been sick for 3 long years and we just figured out it was our mattress we bought 3 years ago when we got married..and the couch. I’m having a baby in 9 weeks and trying to find every alternative I can or flame retardents but we will be living in the city and a stroller will be a daily necessity.. any advice would be so appreciated..
Wow thank you so so much for this! I’m currently scouting items for my first baby and the amount of research that needs to be done can be quite overwhelming. This blog has been incredibly helpful!! I know it’s very time consuming to do this, so thank you! Very much appreciated! Dumb question by the way- do flame retardants fade over time?
I’ve read that they do after approx. 50 washes. I’m not entirely sure how someone figured that out but apparently it can be washed out. I’ve heard that using soap flakes is better at removing it than regular detergent. Congrats on your upcoming baby 🙂
Thank you for the congrats and for answering my question 🙂 I wasn’t able to find anything clear about it.
Kind of a silly question. I am considering getting this LeSportsac bag to use to put baby clothes/stuff in when we travel to grandparents etc.. The company says that the bag is made from a Rip Stop Nylon and are free of PVC, BPA, Lead and Phthalate. Is it OK if you are putting your organic clothes/blankets in a non-organic bag? Do the bags offgass?
It’s a very valid question! I don’t have a organic diaper bag only because by the time I figured all this stuff out I felt like I wasn’t going to need it for much longer. I think that having a non-toxic, ideally organic, diaper bag is important. Like you mention, what’s the point of putting all your organic stuff in toxic bag. There aren’t a lot of options when it comes to organic diaper bags to be honest. I think the one you linked sounds great – free from all the bad stuff which is so important!
Holy moly answered prayer that I hadn’t even physically prayed because it didn’t cross my mind someone would have put ALL of this info online for the world to be so grateful for….THANK YOU!!!! Bookmark, bookmark, bookmark!
Question: On the stroller/car seat saga the UppaBaby is crazy expensive but sure looks more feasible price-wise than Orbit because it literally grows with the child and family– with the little ride along for a toddler and extra car seat add on for another toddler! Also Orbit has pretty terrible ratings on Amazon,whereas UppaBaby seems to be much more approved. The question though, the ultimate question is— the UppaBaby’s infant car seat. You didn’t mention it at all on your blog about the car seats so far as I read (could have missed it in the comments as I read most but not all). Any intel on whether their car seat (UppaBaby Mesa) could possibly pass the smell test? The idea of not waking a sleeping baby from car to wherever seems very very logical.
Lastly, side note, although I feel I will be a nearly 100% baby carrying momma and not need the stroller a ton personally, I think I’ll be continuing to work (albeit gratefully from home) and will need a stroller for the babysitter to use… thus the dilemma here.
THANK YOU SO MUCH AGAIN, blessings to you!!!
I’m glad you like my blog and I’m happy you are bookmarking it! The Uppababy car seat does have FR but they don’t use the worst of the worst FRs like PBDEs. I’ll see if I can get any info on them about what they use and I’ll get back to you.
I bought a used Mountain Buggy and it’s worked great. The newer models are made in China but maybe you can find an older (I think pre-2012 maybe) one on craigslist. It will say on the stroller made in New Zealand. Maybe the babysitter can use the carrier until the baby can sit in the stroller on their own. Ours used a carrier until my son was about 10 months old.
I talked with Uppa and they told me that they use FR in the foam. I was told that they are using non-brominated and non-chlorinated FR. They confirmed no lead or PVC is used. I asked them to find out which FR they are using. She took down my email and said she was going to talk to the designers to see if she could get an answer. I will keep you posted.
Has there been any update from Uppa on the time of FR they are using?
Sorry – “type of FR”
Thank you so much for all of your research regarding toxins in baby products! Although I find it overwhelming that so many toxins exist EVERYWHERE, it’s great to be informed so that I can use non toxic stuff as much as possible.
From your comments, I understand that UPPAbaby is a good option for strollers. I’ve been looking into the Vista, but I ultimately need a double stroller for my 8 month old and soon to be 3 year old. I don’t know if I’m missing something, but does the Vista act as a double stroller? If not, do you know of any viable options for double strollers? If there are no real double strollers available, I’m also considering the new City Jogger from the Honest Company, but it is super pricey. It seems to be a great option; do you know anything about this product?
Thank you for the info on crib sheets! I also thought I was doing a good thing by using organic sheets from Pottery Barn, but I am so disappointed and frustrated that they are treated with something so undesirable. I feel betrayed, to say the least.
Finally, what do you know about the Breastfriend nursing pillow? They say on the website that they have never used fire retardents in their foam, but do you know if they use anything else? I’ve used this pillow extensively for both of my little ones, so that would be a bonus if it is in fact pretty safe!
For a newborn sleep, take a look at the Hushamok. I’ve recently found it, website claims organics and ‘no flame retardants, ever’ http://www.hushamok.com/products/okoa-stand-hammock
–Watching the Orbit issue VERY carefully, particularly considering we just bought one off craigslist….!
See below for info on Orbit. How old is your Orbit? I would send in a sample of the foam to get tested, that way you will know for sure.
My Duke University test came back today. I tested the foam inside the fabric and it came back positive for FR – Result: We detected TDCPP in this sample.
I also tested the Styrofoam that is attached the car seat and it did not have FR – Result: No flame retardants detected.
Wow, that’s incredible that Duke confirmed the FRs. I think Orbit will likely find themselves with a large lawsuit on their hands. The foam is essetially the entirety of the seat, I don’t see any way of replacing it without destroying it.
The stroller/seat combo we bought is older, actually a 2010 model. I wonder how hopeful it is to think perhaps a good amount of the toxicity from the TDCPP has off gased already? And/or what year is yours, I wonder if miracle of miracles the 2010 version really didn’t have FR (probably too hopeful– I’ll have to submit for testing).
Thanks for keeping us all informed.
Yes, please send yours in for testing. Duke only does 50 per month so at the beginning of the month (tomorrow) I would put in your request.
I purchased mine in the fall of 2012 after I received an email from Orbit confirming that both the fabric and foam was Oeko-Tek certified.
You can get a replacement cover made, the only person I know who does Orbit is Nollie Covers. She made mine. My son was in the Orbit without the cover for almost a year though. It’s expensive and it took her forever to complete it. She said 5 weeks and it ended up being 3 months!
The foam that has TDCPP is only the foam inside the fabric. You can get around it by having a cover made if you are open to that option. It’s an expensive option though.
Well there is a chance since they were phasing out of Okeo-Tek foam in 2012 (which they didn’t tell anyone). I hope your foam tests ok. Please update me once you get your results. Also test a piece that is part of the cushion where they would sit (as opposed to an attachment like a head rest). I cut a small hole along a seam line from the back to cut out the foam.
Great blog post! I found this post and your blog while searching for chemical free car seats. We are ready for a convertible car seat and it’s been hard to find one without FR. We also had the Chicco KeyFit and have been looking at the NextFit. I think we’re going to check out the Foonf though as an option since I’ve read about that one recently. We made moves to eliminate many toxins from our home in the last few years (Savvy Rest mattress for ourselves, Naturpedic mattress and changing pad for the LO, OXO Sprout highchair, etc) but lately it seems harder and harder. There are so many chemicals and potential toxins and they seem to be in everything! I too have a Bob and didn’t know about the PVC. I too have the organic Pottery Barn crib sheets and had NO idea they were treated and am continuously SO upset when I feel like I’ve researched my eyes out and come to find out it was a bad choice based on either false advertising or I missed something. For example, I can’t seem to find a non-toxic travel booster seat for the life of me. Sorry for the long post but one last comment. This most recent non-toxic search was also brought on because my husband and I just watched Toxic Hot Seat (highly recommend) about FR in household products and want to replace so many things now but it’s tough because I’m a sustainability grad student and try to balance our throw-away society at the same time as purchasing environmentally friendly and safe products. Anyway, thanks for all your info!
I find your blog amazing and informative. Thank you so much for spending time to share about your research and experiences. I’m expecting a baby at the end of August and have been researching like crazy non-toxic products. I am trying to decide on Moses basket vs Bassinet vs Cosleeper for the first 3-6 months. As far as Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper, is it truly non-toxic? Organic? I was not able to find much information about the materials about them. What was your experience with it and how do you recommend to research products if there is not much info offered on the the company website? Thank you.
The Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper is not organic, the newer version just doesn’t have FRs. If I had to do it over again I would get a moses basket with an organic mattress / pad for it.
I call and email with companies to get the information, I always reach out to them rather than just relying on info on their website 🙂
Hi, so I have not read all the comments. Apologies if this has been mentioned. I emailed Graco asking about the FR, and they said that because the CA TB 117 changed in Dec. 2013, their play yards manufactured after Jan 1, 2014 and NOT bearing the CA TB 117 tag will NOT contain FR. I think this is is the same with Nuna -when I emailed them, they said the law had changed recently and their newer products don’t have FR.
Anyway, interesting! Making progress!
Interesting and good to know about Graco! Honestly that is one of the last companies that I would expect that answer from so that is great news. Also good to know about Nuna too. Progress is being made and it is so nice to see. Thanks for updating us!
Any good suggestions on a mat for the floor? We have wood floors throughout our entire house. I have purchased the Nook Lily pad which is made of organic cotton and PETE.
Sorry for the super long delay. I was away from my computer for awhile. We have hardwoods too and we just put down blankets. I also got the rug & play mat from Under the Nile. It’s just thick, organic, GOTS certified cotton. I really like them.
Has anyone ever heard of Lotus Travel Crib? http://www.guavafamily.com/products/lotus-everywhere-travel-crib
It states that it has “No PVC, Phthalates, Lead or Flame Retardants. 16CFR 1221 / ASTM F406-13A approved.” And I just got confirmation that the mattress is “is made from Oeko-Tex certified polyurethane foam. It is flame retardant and chemical free (BPA, formaldehyde, etc.)
In the past, many products with polyurethane foam had to add chemical flame retardants because of CA TB117. However, this was modified in 2013 so that play yards and Bassinets are now exempt for CA TB117, and the mattress passes the federal mattress flammability standard (16 CFR1633) without the use of flame retardants.”
Does anyone know about this? I had no idea that polyurethane foam can be Oeko Tex certified. Is this a safe bet for a travel crib/playard? Thanks!
I don’t know anything about this mattress but what they are telling you is correct about things being modified in 2013. Foam can be Oeko-Tek certified but Oeko-Tek allows for FRs still. They just are supposedly the least toxic FRs.
My thing with foam is this – I’m not sure if companies are either misinformed or just don’t know but there are too many companies claiming that their foam is FR free but it turns out it tests positive for FRs. Maybe it’s treated before they even get it, maybe it’s because everything is made in China… I don’t know. What I have decided is that I don’t trust foam. If it’s something you are going to use a lot try and find an organic mattress that you can use instead of the foam – my two cents 🙂
I followed up with the company and the rep said that the foam isn’t treated bc its a small enough product that it meets flammability requirements without added chemicals. I’m looking for a travel crib/play yard and the Baby Bjorn travel mattress is made out of “Travel Crib fabric: 100% polyester, Top surface of mattress cover: 50% polyester, 50% polyurethane, Bottom surface of mattress cover: 100% polyester, Mattress: 100% polyether foam” I am just trying to figure out which one is a safer option without buying an additional mattress. I appreciate all the help Thanks!
Sorry for taking so long to respond, I’ve had a really busy week. I like that the Guava Family states many times no flame retardants. Did they tell you what the mattress was made out of? Sorry if you already told me. I’m at the point of not trusting polyurethane foam at all. I like the one you found if what they are saying is true 🙂
Thanks for responding! The mattress is made out of Oeko-Tex certified polyurethane foam, which I had never heard of. The Bjorn travel crib mattress is also out of PU foam but isn’t OT certified. The gauva family rep was super nice and forthcoming.
In theory I like that the foam is Oeko-Tek certified. I would ask them if they have tested their foam to make sure it isn’t treated before getting to them. Oeko-Tek can still use FRs just ones deemed “safer”. With all that being said, Orbit said they used Oeko-Tek foam and it tested positive for Tris which is one of the worst FRs and not Oeko-Tek approved. If you are concerned about it you can always send in a piece of the foam for Duke to test just for piece of mind.
So I just heard back from Guava family, they really are very forthcoming and nice! I asked about testing their foam for FR, per your recommendation and this was their response “Hi Amy,
Yes, we make sure that we are receiving foam without any flame retardants. In our tests for the CFR1633, our foam completely burned up, if it was treated with flame retardants, it would have smoldered, instead of burned.”
Besides a non polyurethane foam mattress, this i guess is the next best option right? And for what its worth, its a lot less than the Baby Bjorn travel crib.
That’s great to hear! I’m going to add them to my blog. Yes, I think this is a great option and the next best thing to adding an organic mattress. Thanks for all the info!
I received the following email from BabyBjorn. Is this not correct information or have you found differently? I’ve been keeping up with the thread on the Lotus Crib and was curious if BabyBjorn is not truly a good option. Thanks!
Thank you for contacting BabySwede, LLC. All materials in the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light that come in contact with the baby are Oeko-Tex Standard 100, class 1 certified including the mattress. BabyBjorn mattress foam is 100% polyurethane foam.We have a separate Oeko-Tex certificate specifically for the mattress. The mattress in the Travel Crib passes flame retardant standards because of the materials it is made of NOT because it is treated with chemicals that make it flame retardant. Specifically, the chemical composition (polymer structure) of the raw material used in our mattress makes the foam less ignitable and therefore it is not necessary to treat it with harmful chemicals to make it flame retardant. Basically, the foam used in our mattress is of a better quality than the standard foam used in other products. Polyurethane comes in a variety of densities, depending on how much “air bubbles” it holds. The more dens, the more flame resistant. The BabyBjörn mattress, is dens (yet soft) and complies without the use of flame retardants. There are absolutely no flame retardants nor harmful chemicals on any part of the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light.
I still think the Baby Bjorn travel crib is a good option too. I’m just starting to not trust any foam but I think either companies (Baby Bjorn or Guava Family) would be great options.
Amy- I was looking into this crib too and wondered if there were organic sheets available to fit it. I haven’t been able to find any though. Do you know it if they exist?
The baby Bjorn travel crib fitted sheets are the same dimensions, so I figured that would work. I sent an email to the guava rep to see if they independently test prior to receiving their mattresses. I’ll post when I get the info.
Thanks Amy!! I’ll check out those sheets.
Thanks for posting such a detailed blog about toxin free items. I was so stressed out for past few weeks that my husband was now officially worried. Thanks for such an amazing job.
For those of you who are on budget regarding cribs, Ikea sells a solid beech wood crib, called the Sniglar, unfinished, for $69.99! I was surprised to see that Ikea no longer uses any MDF with their cribs, and the crib base is now made with solid wooden slats. Simply finish the crib with a food-grade linseed oil or food-grade tung oil and you have a largely, solid wood crib with a safe finish. I also liked your idea of using beeswax as a finish. Secondly unfinished wood Sniglar frame should not need to off-gas in the way that a chemically finished crib would.
That’s good to know. Do you know if any glue is used or is it all put together with screws?
I too have the Sniglar crib and really like it. We finished it with tung oil from realmilk- I had read that this was a safe finish… The crib itself is great, although there isn’t much to it it is sturdy.
For what it’s worth, I went to take a look at some strollers yesterday, specifically the Phil and ted’s smart Lux. the store took the stroller out of the box for me. Phil & Teds/ Mountain Buggy has stated that they don’t use FR or any chemicals on their products. I also confirmed that no Polyurethane foam was used in a variety of their strollers (smart lux included), polyester flll was used as a cushion and at the store there was no hint of a smell and only a tag on it that said that polyester was used. I thought I would share . Only problem is, the nuna pipa isn’t compatible with the adapters. Does anyone know of a universal adapter or the next best option for a car seat?
Thanks for sharing that info! I don’t know of a universal adapter. I had the Chico Keyfit and they don’t use brominated or Tris FRs but they do use a FR that is toxic (like they all do). It might be a good option? A lot of people are against car seat covers but if we have a 2nd I would use that seat and get an organic cover. That’s the decision I made for our family and as people pointed out there may be some safety risks with that.
Jennifer Doyle says
Amy, I’m pretty sure the Nuna Pipa will work with Maxi Cosi Adaptors for various strollers. Look at this http://www.nuna.eu/Content/uploads/PIPA-adapter-matrix-2094.pdf
So the mountain buggy TS21 carseat adaptor should work with the Nuna pipa. At least this is what I”m hoping once I actually get the cosmopolitan.
Hello–this looks like it could be a good (albeit pricey) rocker from Sprout. Are there any concerns you have? I want to call the company but what questions would you ask? Thank you!
Great find! The standard questions I always ask besides FRs are if it’s lead, pvc, heavy metal, phthalate, and foam free. They answer half of the questions in their statement. I also always ask where it’s made. I would ask if the wool is GOTS certified or organic if you are considering wool. I personally would prefer the wool especially if it was organic. Some wool can contain arsenic from the sheep eating off the land. GOTS certified is free from arsenic. I would ask about that too 🙂
I was able to finally get somethingin writing from Nuna. Hopefully, we can help decipher their statement to figure out what they actually mean. I asked the following questions:
Do you use flame retardants in your products? , If so, are any of your products free of chemical/flame retardants?, Which flame retardants are used?, What type of foam in used on your products.
And their response was “We follow the European REACH Standard, the European EN71 Standard, the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and Oeko-Tex certification requirements to ensure the highest quality and safety in our products. These standards were implemented to improve product quality, product safety and are very specific in regards to absence and limitations of potentially harmful substances in products. Please visit their web sites for more information.
To answer your specific question regarding flame retardants, we DO NOT apply any flame retardant treatments to our products with the exception of the foam in the Pipa Car Seat to meet Federal Law FMVSS 302.
In addition we follow the CPSIA strict requirements related to restricted or banned substances in children’s products including: Lead in surface coatings, Lead in substrates, Cadmium, Phthalates, Formaldehyde and other potentially harmful substances.
So if something is Oeko- Tex certified can their still be fire retardants? Do we trust this?
Interesting, yes so Oeko-Tek allows for FRs, just FRs Oeko-Tek deems the least toxic. I would follow up and ask them what FR they use on the Pipa if you are interested in that seat. They have said before what they use but then went to not wanting to say. GOTS does not allow FRs. Not everything they have is GOTS so it would be interesting to know what the breakdown is – what is GOTS, what is Oeko-Tek, etc. I think this company is trying to do good things / the least toxic thing.
Nuna answered an email of mine prior about the flame retardants used on the pipa and they said it was ammonium phopsphate (sp?) The nuna leaf bouncer fabric is GOTS certified and they said that no FR’s are used on their products. So i am debating between the nuna leaf and the baby bjorn bouncer. So what do you think for a car seat? The mountain buggy/phil and teds one or the nuna pipa?
They must have recently removed FRs from their swing because they did have them. I would just confirm with them that the swings in the stores are FR free. The baby bjorn bouncer is for sure. It also allows for greater movement of your babies hands and legs than most swings.
The car seat is tough because they all have FRs. I know Phil & Teds is saying that they don’t use FRs but so did Diono and it turns out that they didn’t. I’m just a little leary. If you get a Phil & Teds I would most def send in a sample to Duke. No FRs are always better than any FRs even if they are less toxic like Nuna. I’m sorry I don’t have a clear answer it’s just that I don’t believe 100% that Phil & Teds is FR free.
Just got a reply from Nuna about the Leaf “The Leafs have not been treated with FR since May of last year. You will just need to check the manufacture date after May 14, 2013.”
I too am trying to decide which infant carrier to buy. I read on another site that it would be ok to use the Chicco Keyfit 30 with an organic insert….. http://www.amazon.com/Elli-Nooli-PadiBlanket-Organic-Stroller/dp/B00DZZRCBC/ref=sr_1_2?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1411603984&sr=1-2&keywords=organic+car+seat+cover What are your thoughts? I am also looking into the Nuna Pipa but am finding it has limited stroller options. I am finding it very difficult to choose an acceptable car seat, do you have a favorite that you could recommend?
Thanks so much for your site, it is very helpful!
That will do some, as it will protect the direct contact of your babies skin to the seat but cotton is still porous so FRs can come through. It’s better than nothing though.
Do you have a good carrier? I always recommend that over a stroller until they get too heavy. Then you can look at strollers that don’t need to be compatible with your car seat. Just my two cents 🙂
I saw in the comments section of your Car Seat post that you had removed the foam from your Ergo. I purchased the GOTS certified version last year, thinking it was the safest available option – but I’m wondering if you have further information? Did you send a sample to Duke? I live in Canada and unfortunately the Duke study will not test Canadian samples. I have been using my Ergo almost exclusively since I found out about the FRs in your Orbit – I have both the Car Seat and the Stroller Seat and I’m assuming the FRs are found in both since they both contain Polyurethane foam. Thanks for any further information you might have on the Ergo – I love your blog and have found it really helpful!
Yes, the Ergo came back totally fine! I was at the point on not trusting any foam and needed to check to be sure. I’m so happy it came back without any flame retardants 🙂
Great news about the Ergo – thanks so much for your response! I am wondering if anyone else has sent a sample of the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib for testing? I wrote to Baby Swede and received the same response Heather posted above – but I have also come to be less trusting of what I’m told in respect to foam. If anyone has sent a sample to Duke, it would be great if you could share the results. Unfortunately I am not eligible to participate in the study, as I live in Canada. Thanks, Ladies – I have found the comments very helpful and it’s great to know others share the same concerns!
Any recommendations on a non-toxic steamer and or blender? We are doing baby led weaning but I would like to get her to eat kale and spinach.
No, I wish I did. We have a vitamix, it’s plastic but I love it and use it all the time. I just don’t put hot food in it and don’t leave things sitting in their for long. For a steamer I would probably just use a stainless steam basket inside a pot of water.
Have you had any trouble with the Stokke highchair? Based on online reviews, some people claim it easily tips over when the baby moves around because of the slanted design.
Also, we’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner and would like to get one with a bag and HEPA filter. Lots of people selling Mieles and Dysons on Craig’s list. Anyone have experience with those brands? We have hardwood floors.
I am subscribed to responses to this post and thought I would respond since we have the Stokke. My daughter is 7 months and we have been using the Stokke since she was 4 months. It is my understanding that it is only an issue when it is on uneven surfaces (carpet or on tile) and the child is sitting at a table where they could use there feet to push against the table to rock the chair backward. I believe they resolved this issue with the extenders on the base/feet. We don’t have her sitting at the table yet, nor are her feet long enough to kick anything. We have the tray so I don’t expect we will have her at the table soon. If you do get this I suggest RightStart, they have the chair, infant seat, and tray for $299 including shipping.
And I should mention that we have all hardwood floor which is why I was comfortable using this after I read the reviews regarding the chair tipping.
I agree, I haven’t had any issues. My son still uses it at 2 1/2 and pushes off of the table with his feet! The extenders resolved the issue. We are on hardwood as well.
Do you have suggestions on push toys? I know plan toys makes one but I don’t like that my daughter could fall through. I’m looking for something along the lines of a push cart, which wouldn’t let her fall forward. Or do you have other suggestions for toys that little ones can learn to pull themselves up on/stand and or walk with?
I like something like this
Also, not really related to your toys post- OK not at all related 🙂 How do you feel about prepackaged baby food in the pouches? If you are OK with it are there any specific brands?
Haha, honestly I’m not a fan of the prepackaged food in pouches (even if it’s organic). I never gave them to my son. The inside of the packaging always concerned me.
Here is a link to the wagon we have https://thewoodenwagon.com/woodentoy/BNV450.html. We bought our locally but this is the same one. It has a lever that you can tighten to make it harder to push when they are first learning to walk. My son, at almost 3, still uses it everyday. He either races it around the house or fills up toys in the cart and brings them around the house. I would also suggest looking into the RIE teaching and not using aids to help with walking. Here is a link http://www.janetlansbury.com/2011/03/9-reasons-not-to-walk-babies/. We had this wagon, and after reading more about the RIE thoughts on not using walking aids or walking them around holding their fingers, I put this cart away until he was walking on his own. Then I bought it back out 🙂
Thanks! I will have to get that for her. I have given her a few pouches of baby food but try to avoid them as well. One thing I do give her is these Veggie’Go’s. They are really good, I eat them too :). She is 8 months, so she doesn’t eat the whole thing she sucks on it. Also, it’s nice because it entertains her for a good 20 minutes.
Yes, I found these this summer at my grocery store and my son loves them! He doesn’t eat them all the time but it is a great option to have 🙂
What are your thoughts on wicker baskets for storage? We’ve had a few baskets for some years now. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where we bought them, so I can’t check on the materials used. I did a google search but couldn’t find a lot of info.
Second question… We are planning to co-sleep. Our mattress has FR :(. Do you know if it’s better for baby to sleep on a FR-free co-sleeper vs our mattress?
Thanks in advance!
Anyone have thoughts on an affordable non-toxic dresser? I’m having trouble finding a solid wood piece since most dressers have MDF or plywood drawer bottoms or backs. I read that Ikea supposedly doesn’t use formaldehyde for its MDF, but am suspicious about what they might use instead. I’ve been looking on craigslist and in vintage shops, but sometimes can’t tell what’s real wood vs plywood.
Any recommendations or further research people have done? Thank you!
I just bought a dresser from Pacific Rim. They use plywood in the drawers but it is made in the US and according to the site I bought it from “The plywood used in drawer bottoms, dresser backs and side panels is purchased from a single supplier in the US where it is subject to strict formaldehyde standards, unlike plywood produced overseas. It is cut and stored for months prior to use to allow any remaining formaldehyde to off-gas.” You can read more here https://www.organicandhealthy.com/furnitureprices.html. This is the best I could find. I previously bought a used oak dresser but after looking at it closer it had been painted at one time. I had the tiny paint marks tested for lead and they came up positive so I don’t love using it. Also, some of the finishes even on non painted wood can contain lead. I bought an unfinished dresser from Pacific Rim and plan on finishing it myself. Hope this helps.
I’m now potentially second guessing the dresser I linked in my last response. I’ve actually been talking with the plywood manufacturer and now know more about plywood than I need to know 🙂 Anyways, I’ll keep you posted on my final decision – if I go with these dressers or find another / better option.
Thank you! We may get an ikea for now :(, but longer term there is an Amish furniture store that can ask their builders to make solid wood drawers. This will make the drawers heavier and the piece will cost more, we can also get it unfinished. Maybe custom Amish furniture is an option to consider. I wish we could afford one now, but with all the other baby expenses we may have to wait.
Google Ana White. She is amazing and goes to places like Crate and Barrell, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn etc and finds awesome pieces and then figures out how to build them. Then she posts all the plans for how to build them on her website. Like a recipe. This was how we furnished our entire house (sans couches). My husband was a complete beginner but her plans are so solid (and he worked hard) and we’ve got awesome, non toxic pieces. We bought the wood we trusted and the stain too!
Sorry- another thought. We need an infant carrier and I noticed that Clek doesn’t seem to offer one. So I am assuming Nuna and Orbit (if the testing has come back differently from 2014) would be the only two to consider? Or just Nuna if Orbit is still the same.
Did you find a baby all natural laundry detergent you like? Little one has eczema now, and I found out Tide Free and Clear isn’t what I thought. Thanks for any advice!
We use Mollys Suds, I think she mentioned she uses Eco nuts
Amy A. says
Young living thieves laundry detergent is my choice for toxin free. When I’m able I actually make my own (without borax, which is a natural toxin), and enhance it with essential oils safe for baby.
Has anyone found a backpack and or lunch box (pref. insulated) made from OK materials?
You can check HealthyStuff.org, should be some good info about backpacks and lunch boxes on there. I also recently heard about this company: http://www.crocodilecreek.com They seem to be at least concerned with toxins and will send you the full toxicity report for any item, at your request.
Recently found these adorable backpacks too: http://milkbarnkids.com/portfolio/toddler-backpack/
I’ve just created a closed Facebook group as a way the Natural Baby Mama community can discuss non-toxic items. Whether you are wanting to know what car seat to buy, questioning non-toxic baby items or items for you or your home, this is will be a great resource and open line of communication. Please like the Natural Baby Mama Facebook page and join the closed group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/223493848003000/?hc_location=ufi.
I’m looking forward to interacting with you more in the closed group!
Amy A. says
I looked into the Maclaren Volo you listed, and found it was no longer available. It seems to have been replaced by an updated model that DOES contain a waterproof hood. I have yet to be able to find out of this is naturally waterproof material, or treated with chemicals. Do you happen to know? I am filling out a “registry” list with links for my baby shower in the next month. Thanks! Your info has been incredibly helpful for my toxins avoiding family!